A healthy diet can give you a great deal of energy, but not all foods are created equal when it comes to keeping your energy level high. These 10 healthy foods are incredibly good for you and will keep your energy levels up, without an enormous amount of calories. So add these to your diet today!
1) Dark chocolate
The chemicals in chocolate that make it so irresistible also help our brains stay sharp. Just don’t overdo it, as too much sugar is bad for you and can have a negative impact on your energy levels. A square of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) after lunch or dinner should do it. And no, contrary to popular belief, dark chocolate doesn’t actually cause acne; there is no scientific evidence to support that claim.
Kale is part of a group of leafy greens called cruciferous vegetables. These types of vegetables are known for their high levels of glucosinolates, which have anti-cancer properties. Kale is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A that your body can convert into retinol (the active form of vitamin A), so it’s good to get both from food sources. One cup of raw kale contains over 1,000% DV of vitamin K and nearly 200% DV of vitamin A—nearly 30 times more than what’s found in spinach!
Eggs are a great source of protein, which is essential for energy. They also include most of your daily vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of vitamin D, choline, folate, zinc, and iron. Research shows that eggs can help lower cholesterol levels in people who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol by decreasing bad LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) and increasing good HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C).
Eggs contain two main types of dietary protein: complete proteins—those containing all nine essential amino acids—and incomplete proteins—those that do not contain all nine.
4) Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkins aren’t just for carving. Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients, including manganese, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Plus they can help keep your energy level high and contain a good amount of protein—two things you definitely need if you want to stay healthy! To get in your pumpkin-seed fix, simply roast them in olive oil and salt or try them raw in salads or smoothies.
Avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, vitamin K, vitamin E, and lutein. All of these nutrients help keep your eyes healthy and vibrant; lutein is also thought to protect against macular degeneration.
Avocados are also rich in potassium, an electrolyte that helps lower blood pressure and reduces your risk for heart disease. They’re a great addition to salads or sandwiches, but you can also mash them up with salt and lime juice to make guacamole! Just remember—fats aren’t necessarily bad for you—and many people are deficient in certain kinds of fat.
As one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, spinach is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. Popeye was right: Spinach is good for you. With just 33 calories per cup, spinach is one of the best foods for boosting energy and keeping you feeling great all day long.
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, rich in dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, and many other essential nutrients, spinach can also help lower your risk of chronic disease while helping maintain a healthy weight. Boost your energy by adding spinach to salads or smoothies; it also makes a great addition to vegetable or chicken noodle soup. Combine with garlic oil for added flavor when cooking it.
A staple in heart-healthy diets, salmon is full of nutrients that can keep your energy level high throughout the day. It’s also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve cognitive function and memory and may even lower your risk of certain diseases. Just make sure to avoid frying or baking it—go for broiling or grilling instead. And whatever you do, don’t skip on the skin—it’s loaded with healthy fats that help you absorb those all-important nutrients!
A handful of almonds contains six grams of protein and plenty of healthy fats. As such, they’re a great choice if you’re looking for something that will satisfy your hunger without causing a caloric overload. Almonds also contain monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to have positive effects on cholesterol levels and heart health.
It’s also rich in fiber—four grams per serving—which helps keep you full by slowing digestion and controlling blood sugar spikes after eating. Similarly, almonds are rich in magnesium and vitamin E; these vitamins help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which can lead to heart problems down the road.
9) Turkey breast
Turkey breast is full of protein, a macronutrient that helps your body feel fuller longer and aids in weight loss. Protein also helps with muscle maintenance, which can be important as you age. The amino acids in turkey breast can also improve your mood. Other good sources of protein include chicken, seafood, low-fat dairy products, and lean cuts of beef like flank steak and top round roast.
Quinoa is a high-protein, high-fiber food that’s also gluten-free. It’s so versatile it can be used in place of rice or other grains and has been referred to as a superfood for its many health benefits.
The Institute for Responsible Technology says quinoa may be one of nature’s best sources of complete protein, and it contains all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa also contains more antioxidants than most other grains and has even been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
When it comes to choosing healthy foods, it can be overwhelming at times. However, by focusing on whole, unprocessed foods and adding just a few superfoods to your diet each day, you’ll feel great about what you eat—and get all of your nutrients. Keep these 10 healthy foods in mind next time you go shopping for groceries.